Seedy Maple Granola


After discovering a few months ago (after literally a lifetime of avoidance) that I’m not allergic to seeds I have been trying to eat them more often. This granola seemed an interesting addition to a breakfast repertoire which could do with a few more options.

I have to confess that despite oats supposedly being so good for you and porridge being fashionable and all, I just don’t get on with porridge, it’s not my thing (well, certainly not at the moment!). So this was a way to add oats too.

This recipe comes courtesy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall whose recipe books I am very much enjoying at the moment. He has a way of making things seem approachable and I like that. It’s from River Cottage Light and Easy which is a book I’d actually put off buying for a while, thinking there would be nothing that appealed. This isn’t true but it took WHSmith having the book for only £6 (bargain!) for me to actually buy it.

You can probably find the recipe in a google books preview but here is my variation:

Seedy Maple Granola
Mix 120g porridge oats, 40g chopped cashew nuts, 20g pumpkin seeds 20g sunflower seeds and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add 15g light olive oil and mix well. Add 50ml maple syrup and 25ml water with a tsp vanilla extract and mix again. Tip onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 40-50 minutes at 150C. Remove and allow to cool when it smells toasty and delicious. When cold store in an airtight container for apparently up to a month.

I served mine with a chopped cox’s apple (so delicious at the moment) and some limited edition Yeo Valley spiced apple and quince yogurt (more new things to try!). I really enjoyed the granola as an added texture and flavour in my breakfast. It wasn’t as crunchy as I’d thought but bear in mind I’ve never eaten commercial granola. The warm toasty oaty, nutty flavours were great. The yogurt was good too, I’d recommend it.

Seedy Maple Granola

Gingered Miso Aubergine Noodles


A fairly quickly idea for a tasty meal. I have long known that I am a salt fiend – I love soy sauce, olives, feta cheese and many, many other salty, tasty foods. To me, miso has a similar appeal and checking the packet confirms that it is in fact, high in salt. Yum. Miso is a recent discovery for me and therefore a current love. I cheated and bought some miso soup sachets which are a paste rather than a powder. I bought them a while ago and realised they are approaching their ‘best before’ and therefore needed to be used sooner rather than later. Not particularly a hardship! Another item in my kitchen in need of using up was an aubergine – it was beginning to go wrinkly and the stem end was definitely not good. In the interests of not wasting the whole thing I chopped that bit off and used the rest which was still surprisingly firm and good to use.

It’s a revelation to me that aubergine can be used in anything but ratatouille. That’s certainly the only way I had it before I left home many years ago. But it pairs so well with these flavours and becomes meltingly tender and delicious. I will definitely be making this again. The only thing I’ll change is to add some fried tofu for a protein component – I realised after making this that it was a little lacking in that department. A very successful combination of warming ginger, salty miso, melting aubergine, slippery noodles and fresh broccoli.

Gingered Miso Aubergine Noodles (based on this recipe)
Soften half an aubergine, chopped into pieces in about a teaspoon of oil. In the meantime, bring a pan of water to the boil for the noodles and broccoli. Mix a miso soup sachet with a small cube of ginger, grated, a teaspoon of mirin, half a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vinegar. An Asian style vinegar would be best but I used apple cider vinegar because that’s what I had. Add some boiling water and mix well. When the aubergine is tender and coloured, add the noodles to the boiling water and the miso mix to the aubergine. Simmer the aubergine while the noodles cook, adding the broccoli so that it’s tender when the noodles are done. Drain noodles and broccoli, add to aubergine mix and serve.

I’m going to share this with the no-waste food challenge. I am generally a bit rubbish at using things up so I was quite pleased to have rescued the aubergine in particular from the fate which would usually have befallen it, namely the bin (sadly there is no food-waste collection where I live).


I’m also going to share it with Jac for her Meat Free Mondays. This was a great light lunch but with some tofu would make a more substantial dinner.

Gingered Miso Aubergine Noodles

Golden Syrup Ginger Cakes


These were made as a thank you, to be given away. However, I am incapable of being truly altruistic so not only did I make cakes to a recipe that appealed to my cake-tastes, I kept a couple back, for testing purposes of course! The recipient may (or may not) read this blog but if they do, I think that they’d be pleased to know that I kept some back to test and thoroughly enjoyed eating them!

Anyway, I adapted the recipe from this one on the Lakeland website (it may become apparent in a future post as to why I was on the Lakeland website for inspiration…). The recipe makes 24 and I didn’t think that myself and the recipient could get through quite that many so the recipe amounts below are essentially half of the stated ingredients but with a couple of minor alterations. I was intending to do the orange flavoured icing as stated but have mislaid my orange essence so went with vanilla bean paste, full of tiny little seeds and packed with vanilla flavour. It was a good choice.

Golden Syrup Ginger Cakes
90g butter
90g light muscovado sugar
80g golden syrup
100ml milk
1 egg
165g self raising flour
1 1/2tsp ground ginger (I like ginger, so this is not half of the stated amount)
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the buttercream: Cream 75g soft butter with 150g icing sugar, a tsp of vanilla paste and a little hot water to loosen if necessary.

– Preheat the oven to 180C (just noticed that the recipe states 150C, well I used 180!). Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.
– Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the syrup and mix well.
– Add the milk, egg, flour, ground ginger and bicarb and beat until well combined and light in texture.
– Divide between the cases and bake for around 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. The syrup seems to make them colour quite quickly.

When cool, pipe on the buttercream icing and enjoy.

These were much, much lighter than I was expecting. For some reason I always think of cakes made with syrup being quite heavy and moist but these had a beautiful light, airy texture yet were still moist. The unmistakeable flavour of golden syrup came through well, and combined with the ginger to make these very enjoyable. I think they’ll also be good with custard for dessert and that will hopefully be the fate of the one which didn’t get any buttercream and is currently in the freezer.

I’m entering this into a couple of blog challenges: Tea Time Treats, hosted this month by Karen of Lavender and Lovage (and on alternate months by Janie at The Hedgecombers). The theme this month is Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cupcakes. These fit in perfectly. I’m also entering it into Bake of the Week, hosted by Casa Costello.



Golden Syrup Ginger Cakes

Maple Banana Cakes


Caroline at Caroline Makes has a relatively new blog event – ‘Formula 1 Foods‘. She found that weekends in her household were revolving around the Grand Prix race and decided to take advantage of this and make something from the country where the race that weekend is being hosted. I’ve been watching the challenges, meaning to join in but not quite making it, or the country has been a little too challenging.

As a child our family calendar was partly dictated by the Grand Prix schedule too – Sunday lunch occasionally got shifted a bit, results of early morning races were to be avoided and the curtains in the room with the television (when families generally only had the one television!) were drawn and talking was forbidden. Woe betide you interrupting the commentary… So this challenge resonated with me!

I’m afraid this is not a Canadian dish, but the maple syrup is definitely a Canadian ingredient. The recipe came originally from a Sainsbury’s magazine calendar I think. I’ve never had the fortune to travel to Canada, but I would dearly love to one day; it seems like an amazing country.


Maple Banana Cakes
50g salted butter
80g light muscovado sugar
105g self raising flour
40g maple syrup
1 egg
1 overripe banana (about 75g peeled weight)
30g raisins

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C. Grease a six hole muffin tin well with butter. Cream the butter and sugar together. My butter was soft enough to cream by hand – no mixer to wash up! The add the flour, maple syrup, egg and banana and beat well to combine. Fold in the raisins. Divide between the prepared holes of the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes (my timings are still based on a tiny oven – take care with your oven timings and just check).
When baked, turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

Just as moist and sweet as I remember, the cakes are close textured and delicious and the chewy raisins are great.

I’m linking up with Caroline Makes for the Formula 1 Food Challenge where this weekend the race is in Canada. I’m linking to Dom for Simply Eggcellent (anything goes this month). I’m linking to the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary (thanks Elizabeth!) and finally to Bake of the Week at Casa Costello.

Bake-of-the-week no-waste-food-badge simplyeggcellent_logo1 F1 Foods 1

Maple Banana Cakes

Courgette and mozzarella frittata


Edwina Currie has a lot to answer for…. Despite knowing that eggs are healthy and packed full of nutrition I don’t eat them nearly as often as I might. But this frittata was delicious and reminded me that I enjoy eating eggs. And of course cheese makes everything better. Served with soda bread.

Soften a courgette chopped into chunky rounds slowly in some olive oil. Add beaten, seasoned eggs and cook until the base is set. Transfer the pan to below a preheated grill. When the top has set slightly add sliced mozzarella and grill until bubbling. The eggs were undoubtedly overcooked!

I’m also going to link this to Dom’s new Linky, Simply Eggcellent what with eggs being the principle ingredient of this dish!

Courgette and mozzarella frittata